Clarke honored at Main Street Iowa Awards celebration

Award Winning Projects, Entrepreneurs and Volunteers Honored

Charles City Community Revitalization News Release
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Pictured receiving her Leadership Award from Gov. Kim Reynolds is Charles City’s Nancy Clarke, with Community development Director Mark Wicks at far left and Jim Engle, director of the Iowa Downtown Resource Center, at far right.

DES MOINES — Main Street Iowa hosted the 32nd annual Main Street Iowa Awards celebration on Friday, April 13, 2018 at Hoyt Sherman Place in Des Moines. The program honored the efforts of those who work day in and day out to revitalize Iowa’s downtowns – the heart and soul of communities across the state.

Included among the top volunteers recognized was Nancy Clarke of Charles City, who has been named by the local Main Street program, Community Revitalization, as its volunteer of the year.

“Clarke does not consider herself a leader. She doesn’t like the spotlight. She just likes to help out if needed,” said Community Development Director Mark Wicks. “In her own way, though, by doing all of the little things she does, Nancy in fact leads by example in Charles City.”

The Basset-area native and 1963 Charles City High School graduate moved back to the area from San Diego in 2008 after retiring because she “missed having a white Christmas.” Her friend Norma Breitbach invited her to get involved with the Design Committee of Community Revitalization in 2009 and she has been a valuable program volunteer ever since.

In addition to her valuable input and participation with the Design group and its activities such as the Holiday Home Tours, Nancy has stepped up time and time again to volunteer at other Community Revitalization events throughout the years including Party in the Park, the Great Chili Cook-Off, Brewfest and the annual Community Volunteer Recognition Awards. Almost any time she is called and asked to lend a hand, she does so gladly.

Even when not asked she volunteers to help out, personally donating money to help cover the cost of decorating Central Park for the holidays the past few years.

Outside of Community Revitalization, Nancy also serves on the Charles City Arts Center Board of Directors and has been a volunteer at TLC: The Learning Center. In addition, she has helped wrap gifts for the annual Holiday Cheer program through he Charles City Area Chamber of Commerce.

Main Street Iowa has annually presented awards honoring outstanding accomplishments, activities and people making a difference in Main Street districts throughout the state. Projects large and small are recognized and serve as outstanding examples of what historic commercial district revitalization is all about.

This year, 18 projects were selected to be recognized from the 117 competitive nominations submitted. The honors were presented by Governor Kim Reynolds and James Engle, director of the Iowa Downtown Resource Center (IDRC).

“The Main Street Iowa program is a powerful catalyst for local revitalization and community investment,” said Governor Reynolds. “As I travel across the state, I see over and over that Main Streeters are passionate, innovative and creative. They’re also committed to making their downtowns – and our state – a stronger, more sustainable place to live, work and raise a family.”

Two special awards were presented during the evening. The Spirit of Main Street Award recognizes a person, organization, community or project that demonstrates the spirit of “Main Street at Work” in Iowa through innovation, support and commitment to economic development within the context of historic preservation. This award was presented to Darla Ubben (posthumously) of Conrad, Iowa. The Signature Project Award recognizes an outstanding project that rises above the traditional award categories. This award was presented to representatives from the City of West Des Moines and the Historic Valley Junction Foundation for their involvement in the CoSign program in Historic Valley Junction’s historic commercial district.

In 1985, the Iowa Legislature adopted the National Main Street Center’s Four Point Approach® to district revitalization by establishing Main Street Iowa within the agency that is now the Iowa Economic Development Authority. Since its inception, the state program and its communities have been considered examples of excellence in the national effort to revitalize historic commercial districts across the country.

Since 1986, local Main Street programs have made a significant impact on Iowa’s economy, resulting in:

  • The inception of 4,670 new businesses and a net gain of 14,348 jobs.
  • Nearly 12,000 building projects reported, totaling a private investment of over $1.85 billion dollars.
  • More than 3 million hours of human capital equating to over $72 million dollars in time and talents according to the Independent Sector’s estimated value of a volunteer hour.

For more information about Main Street Iowa, contact the Community Development Office at (641) 228-2335 or email You can also visit


Pictured receiving her Leadership Award from Gov. Kim Reynolds is Charles City’s Nancy Clarke, with Community development Director Mark Wicks at far left and Jim Engle, director of the Iowa Downtown Resource Center, at far right.